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Breaking News: Mega defence deals still in US kitty

Discussion in 'Indian Defence Industry' started by CONNAN, Apr 30, 2011.

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  1. CONNAN

    CONNAN Major ELITE MEMBER

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    NEW DELHI: The US may be "deeply disappointed" by the ejection of its fighters from the $10.4 billion race to supply 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft to India, but it cannot shy away from the fact that it continues to gleefully corner a major chunk of the lucrative Indian defence market.

    Despite being a late-comer, the US has already bagged some big-ticket deals, eating into the share of traditional military suppliers to India like Russia, Israel, France and UK.

    Moreover, it knows India will spend over $100 billion to acquire military hardware and software in the coming decade, double of what it spent in the last one. From attack helicopters and heavy-lift aircraft to 155mm howitzers and submarines, India will continue to import heavily from abroad in the absence of a strong domestic defence-industrial base.

    Outgoing US ambassador Timothy J Roemer, for instance, expressed confidence that the biggest Indo-US defence deal in the pipeline as of now, the $4.1-billion one for 10 C-17 Globemaster-III giant strategic airlift aircraft, will see a quick closure. "Once this over $4 billion sale is finalized, the economic impact will be felt by 30,000 American workers and 650 American suppliers located in 44 states," he said on Friday.

    "But do not take my word for it. Let me quote Boeing military aircraft president Chris Chadwick, who said, 'Our hands are pretty full. There's lots going on.' I think the same sentiment can be said by almost all of our defence contractors when it comes to business in India," he added.

    That is certainly true. Just in the arena of transport and reconnaissance aircraft, Washington has notched up sales worth over a staggering $8 billion if deals on the verge of getting finalised are also taken into account.

    This includes the one for 10 C-17s, which India wants to acquire for swift power projection capabilities, capable as the rugged planes are of carrying a payload of 164,900 pounds after taking off even from makeshift airstrips.

    As earlier reported by TOI, this deal is likely to get even bigger, with IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik holding that another six C-17s may be ordered after evaluating the performance of the first 10.

    Similar "follow-on contracts" are on the cards for the six C-130J 'Super Hercules' heavy-lift aircraft ordered for $962 million in 2007 and the eight P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft ordered for $2.1 billion in 2009. The acquisition for four more P-8Is for almost $1 billion, for instance, has already been cleared by the Defence Acquisitions Council chaired by defence minister A K Antony.

    The US, of course, has bagged arms deals in other areas as well, like the $822 million one for 99 GE F-414 engines for the Mark-II version of the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft and the $170 million for Harpoon Block-II anti-shi

    Mega defence deals still in US kitty - The Times of India
     
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